GNOME Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Beta Release of Upcoming GNOME 43 Desktop

GNOME 43 Beta

The GNOME Project turns 25th years old today and to celebrate the anniversary of its birth the development team released the beta version of the upcoming GNOME 43 desktop environment series for public testing.

Delayed nine days from its official release date, the GNOME 43 Beta is here as the second development milestone after the GNOME 43 Alpha release, which kicked off the GUADEC 2022 conference that took place last month in Guadalajara, Mexico to shape up the future of the next major GNOME desktop environment release.

As expected, GNOME 43 Beta is packed with lots of goodies, including more improvements to WebExtensions support and a new “Take Screenshot” context menu entry for the Epiphany web browser, the ability for the GNOME Boxes virtual machine manager to fetch recommended operating systems from remote address, WWAN 5G connection support to Control Center’s Cellular page and support for privacy screens in the Display page.

The new GNOME Console terminal emulator has been ported to GTK4/libadwaita and comes with improved handling of custom shells/commands, drag and drop fixes with local URIs now being converted to regular filesystem paths, as well as detection of man page links, keyboard shortcuts, clipboard oddities, building with Clang, and assorted ancillary data updates.

The Calls app received improved startup times, scrolling performance against large call histories, and a “Send SMS” action in the history popover. Moreover, the Disks app received various Flatpak improvements, and GNOME Initial Setup has been finally ported to GTK 4 and libadwaita.

GNOME Shell, which is the most important part of the GNOME desktop environment, now comes with a new Quick Settings panel that replaces the combined system menu, improved on-screen keyboard, improved app grid navigation, optimized workspace background shadow, and improved overview animation performance.

New Quick Settings panel in GNOME 43

It also features a new device switcher to the volume sliders, the ability to only load extensions that support the current session mode, support for updating extensions with only Extension Manager installed, a more tweaked access portal dialog, and the ability to use the same format in screencast and screenshot file names.

On the other hand, the Mutter window and composite manager received direct scanout support for GPUs without modifiers support, support for multi-monitor direct scanout, single pixel buffer support, ARGB fallback if XRGB is not supported, cursor visibility on X11 when using only tablets as input, and basic color-scheme support for server-side decorations.

The GNOME 43 Beta release also includes the complete set of default and supplemental wallpapers in SVG and WebM formats for better compression and resolution, as well as 4K square formats targeting both widescreen, 4:3, and portrait displays. Here’s a quick video tour!

The next development milestone of the upcoming GNOME 43 desktop environment is the Release Candidate (RC), which is scheduled for early September. Until then, you can test drive the GNOME 43 Beta release if you download the GNOME OS installer image and run it in a virtual machine with EFI support, such as the GNOME Boxes version available on Flathub.

The GNOME 43 Beta release also marks the start of the UI, Feature, and API freezes, and the String announcement is now also in effect in advance of the String freeze that starts later this month on August 27th. The final GNOME 43 release is expected on September 21st, 2022.

Last updated 2 years ago

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